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Japan’s Empress Emerita Michiko turns 86

Tokyo, Oct. 20 (Jiji Press)–Japanese Empress Emerita Michiko marked her 86th birthday on Tuesday, concerned about the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


Showing care for people hit by the pandemic, the Empress Emerita has been refraining from going outside and inviting guests, according to the Imperial Household Agency.


The Empress Emerita has been living quietly with Emperor Emeritus Akihito since moving to a temporary housing in late March from the Imperial Palace’s Fukiage Sento Palace, where they spent about 26 years.


The couple reminisce about earlier times while taking walks in the morning and afternoon. They enjoy looking at flowers, including Hemerocallis citrina they brought from the Fukiage Sento Palace, and a type of sunflower symbolizing a massive earthquake in the Kobe area in western Japan in 1995.


They sometimes look up to the sky to see whether an airplane with an illustration of “amabie,” a kind of yokai, or ghost, which is believed to have the power to ward off plagues, is flying over.


The Emperor Emerita routinely reads letters and books.


She visited a hospital in September and October for follow-up checks for the cataract and breast cancer surgeries she underwent last year. No major problems were found during the checks.


But she has developed a fever of 37 degrees Celsius or higher in the afternoon almost every day since May for unknown reasons.


Due to the stiffness in her left hand, apparently associated with hormonal therapy after the breast cancer surgery, she is no longer able to play the piano. But she is taking the situation very calmly, according to the agency.


Amid the pandemic, a celebratory event for her birthday has been canceled.

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